Why do liberals find it so hard to persuade Muslims about free speech?


9:55 am - January 9th 2015

by Sunny Hundal    


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Yesterday evening I was invited by the Guardian to debate the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and where we go from here. I wanted to make a series of coherent points in a mini-speech but it never happened, so I’m writing them out here… Each point is in a separate mini blog-post.

A photo posted by Lucy (@lucyeldridge) on

Let’s start from the proposition that the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and secularism are inherently a good thing. I always do. I think our stance on them should be unquestionable, like against racism or homophobia.

When I explain or justify any of these principles in front of sceptical Muslims, I generally get a good response. I’ve done it a few times so I’m confident of this. The other day I posted my speech to a group of Muslim students on why they should want to live in a society where people have the right to insult their prophet, and they got it.

There’s a minority who don’t agree but I would say that generally it is not that hard to convince British Muslims about the importance of free speech and having a secular government. Once you sit down and have a debate with them at least.

But there are two problems, I find.

Firstly, it’s not that they dislike the argument, it’s sometimes more that they don’t believe others are interested in free speech in the first place.

And they have a point, there are loads of inconsistencies in the government and media industry’s behaviour when it comes to free speech. The Sun’s editorial post-Hebdo was a classic case of demanding more freedom while attacking people who stand up for civil liberties.

Many Muslims say – hold on, if you don’t always believe in free speech, why should I? How to answer that? I always say that at least we are agreed that there should be more free speech but it always sounds a bit hollow to me.

Secondly, the problem is that many liberals aren’t interested in convincing others who are sceptical, but merely interested in stating that they are right and Muslims should lump it.

This isn’t good enough.

We have to make the case for free speech in a way that says Muslims also benefit from free speech. In fact they benefit more than you white folks because they are far more likely to be spied on or locked up for saying inflammatory things than you.

So lets make that case without playing into a them v us narrative.

And let’s also stand up for free speech when Muslims are being threatened. Some of the voices I hear piping up about free speech only do so when Muslims are the perpetrators not victims.

That isn’t just inconsistent, it also makes me think you don’t really care for the principles at stake. And that also makes it much harder for all of us to convince Muslims about why they should embrace more free speech and the right to insult their religion.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


It’s the difference between universalism v relativism.

The UK offers a qualified right of expression, limited by among other things, the Public Order Act – where there was a bit of a trade off in abolishing the old Blasphemey law.

It’s difficult for me to see how qualified speech can ever be considered “free”.

“Secondly, the problem is that not many liberals aren’t interested in convincing others who are sceptical, but merely interested in stating that they are right and Muslims should lump it.”

Think there might be an extra “not” in there?
Sorry don’t mean to be pedantic but it’s a confusing double negative as it stands.
Best wishes and thanks for the excellent job you do in promoting free speech!

I think the free speech debate is black and White.. Whilst you shouldn’t go out to offend people (common decency) you should certainly be able to say anything under the sun without having to risk your life

Everyone has freedom of religion, which includes the right to change your religion or to have none.

As a part of religious belief, some might believe that they have to do, or refrain from doing, certain things. It might for instance be things they can’t say, things they can’t eat or the way they have to dress.

Those who, as part of their freedom of religion, do not follow that religion, do no have to be bound by the restrictions that religion imposes.

As such, my freedom of speech is not limited by what Muslims believe. Otherwise my own freedom of religion is compromised.

Sunny, your own comments policy is a perfect example of why this is such a difficult debate. None of us believes in an absolute right to freedom of expression. We would then have to scrap the laws governing defamation, racial and sexual harassment and all types of menace, thus giving full rein in the internet era to behaviour that would have a terrorising (I choose the word deliberately) effect on any number of people.
It must be much harder to convince sceptics of the importance of a principle when it is not in practice a principle.
In the UK freedom of speech or expression is an aspiration known to lawyers as a “negative right” – we have a right not to be silenced, but not to say anything we want; in other countries, such as the US, it is a “positive right”, but with restrictions. These are difficult nuances to transmit, especially to people who have less personal or cultural experience of them because they are more familiar with states that draw their limitations on expression far more rigorously than, for instance, the UK.
What we Brits aspire to, even if we don’t recognise it as such, is for our “negative right” of freedom of speech to be restricted as little as possible. That is, we want as few laws as we can get away with to limit freedom of speech, laws that are designed to prevent people being menaced by those who would defame or threaten or harass them – don’t forget that Britain is the country where a person was arrested for posting an image of a burning poppy.
Even in countries with a “positive right” – and the US is the most commonly adduced – there are considerable restrictions on freedom of speech. For a start, the constitutional protections, notably in the First Amendment, apply only to what the government (state or federal) can do to limit freedom of expression, religion or the press. If you employer or landlord acts to limit your freedom of speech – eg “if you don’t take down that political slogan from your window, I will evict you” – they are not prevented from doing so by the First Amendment.
In the past 100 years there have been a number of Supreme Court rulings that placed restrictions on freedom of speech (many of them in the areas where we have restrictive laws as mentioned above) as well as some – though fewer – that extended that freedom. As recently as the 1990s Justices Scalia and Thomas argued ferociously about whether the Founding Fathers meant to protect these freedoms from “prior restraint” alone i.e. that it was only unconstitutional to ban speech or expression in advance, but not to impose sanctions on those who spoke or wrote something that others opposed for some reason. That argument has been defeated, probably.
I’m banging on about all this to make the point that it is very hard to convince others about a point of principle when it isn’t an absolute principle, which is to say, I agree with Sunny. I could have said that in far fewer words, but I was practising my freedom of verbosity.

Have the discussion with someone like the mild mannered imam Ibrahim Mogra and see what happens.
He thinks we should be kind and respect each other and not offend unnecessarily. I would agree with him just a little on that, but not to the extent he means.

And on free speech, what do you say to be the ”No more Page Three” campaign, or to people who want sanctions against people in football who are found to have said racist things in their private e-mails?

7. Robin Levett

@OP:

“We have to make the case for free speech in a way that says Muslims also benefit from free speech. In fact they benefit more than you white folks because they are far more likely to be spied on or locked up for saying inflammatory things than you.”

They do – but that isn’t IMHO the way to argue the case. Muslims may indeed benefit, but if a given Muslim believes that the downside of having to “tolerate” insults to Allah outweighs the upside, then you’ve lost the argument.

@Damon #6:

“And on free speech, what do you say to be the ”No more Page Three” campaign…”

Not quite sure what you’re getting at here. Are you suggesting that the members of the campaign should have their freedom of speech restricted in some way?

That you are entitled to freedom of speech (or to publish photographs of topless young ladies) in no way implies that I am not entitled to criticise you for your particular exercise of that freedom – or indeed to try to convince others that that that particular exercise is harmful to society at large.

Robin Levett, what I mean about the Page Three campaign is, can one support it? They don’t just criticise it they want to censor it.
I can’t see how that campaign can be supported buy champions of free speech.

I think that supporting Charlie Hebdo’s right to produce offensive content is a pretty hard sell.
This cartoon was apparently about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria.

http://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-ddd3904e07d024cc09ecc4d76145f73d?convert_to_webp=true

In the UK freedom of speech or expression is an aspiration known to lawyers as a “negative right” – we have a right not to be silenced, but not to say anything we want; in other countries, such as the US, it is a “positive right”, but with restrictions. These are difficult nuances to transmit, especially to people who have less personal or cultural experience of them because they are more familiar with states that draw their limitations on expression far more rigorously than, for instance, the UK.

‘Negative rights’ are best read along the lines of, “freedom from” and ‘positive rights’ along the lines of “right to”.

The UK’s free speech right is explicitly written as a qualified right to freedom of expression.

The First Amendment to the US is more like a negative right. If “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” then by implication, people within the jurisdiction have freedom from Congress making such laws.

What we Brits aspire to, even if we don’t recognise it as such, is for our “negative right” of freedom of speech to be restricted as little as possible.

Do we really? Many people seem to think that speech they agree with should be free but speech they disagree with should be restricted. There are many calls in the UK for restrictions on speech, for example people are arrested for posting things on social media and this is applauded. general public.

Even in countries with a “positive right” – and the US is the most commonly adduced – there are considerable restrictions on freedom of speech. For a start, the constitutional protections, notably in the First Amendment, apply only to what the government (state or federal) can do to limit freedom of expression, religion or the press. If you employer or landlord acts to limit your freedom of speech – eg “if you don’t take down that political slogan from your window, I will evict you” – they are not prevented from doing so by the First Amendment.

No, but they might be prevented from doing so by contract. And free speech rights don’t tend to be applicable to private spaces – I can’t lawfully wander into your house and start berating you unless you have invited me to do so. This is a problem in terms of spaces that seem public but are in fact private, like shopping malls and office plazas.

Damon: please do some Googling of the context of that magazine cover. It isn’t what you think.

Yes Al, it’s true I don’t really understand it.
I just read this interesting New York Times piece though, that reminded us that Charlie Hebdo would be banned off most university campuses in the UK and US, for being racist or too provocative.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/opinion/david-brooks-i-am-not-charlie-hebdo.html?_r=2&referrer=

12. Churm Rincewind

Ben Fenton has it right. Freedom of speech is not an absolute right. It becomes wrong when it causes harm.

And that’s where things get difficult. For example, opponents of Page Three would no doubt argue that the feature does real damage to women. Supporters might reply that in the scale of things it’s a bit of harmless and self-knowing fun.

Who’s to say?

I take the view that it’s about accessibility. For example, the Imperial War Museum holds historic images of unimaginable horror. Should these images be freely available to scholars? Yes. Should they feature in educational materials for junior schools? No.

By way of analogy, anyone buying Charlie Hebdo would be pretty much aware of its potential for offence. No harm is caused. But if the same images were to be re-published prominently in the world’s press, as some seem to be recommending, and given that some 1.5 billion of the world’s Muslims consider depictions of the Prophet to be offensive, then real harm is caused.

13. Churm Rincewind

P.S. Hat tip to JS Mill, who said all this so much better than I just did.

Unfortunately JS Mill didn’t define “harm”, afaik.

Does someone feeling “offended” mean “real harm” has been caused? I find David Cameron’s words highly offensive when he talks about Britain standing up for free speech while people are arrested here for saying silly things on social media and while we’re allied with Saudi Arabia which today had someone flogged for being critical of the government, but I don’t think I’ve been caused “real harm”. I have elderly acquaintances who are so offended by swearing that they wince when they hear it but I don’t think they would claim they had suffered a real harm.

Why do liberals find it so hard …………..? Actually you know a liberal is like a girl who use thick layer of cosmetics , show cleavage and conclude herself as beautiful and attractive. More she start giving lectures and beauty tips to hijabi girl preconsidering she is unaware of what is beauty ! Hijabi girl may smile on her defination of beauty or may feel bothered or may ignore that liberal girl.See how this is so hard

Here we must define free speech.Just like all people don’t accept sex as sex. Some reject bizarre sex and accept lawful sex, some accept bizarre sex. Similarly you can’t expect muslims to accept bizarre in the name of free speech.

@A Muslim. I’m in a small Muslim town right now in Sri Lanka. I just went in to get breakfast and a few groceries and it’s a really friendly place – but there’s hardly any women and girls about. I’d say that ratio of men to women is 30 to 1- and some of those women have been niqabed.
To me that’s not good, but to you it’s probably the way things should be?

17. Robin Levett

@damon #8:

“Robin Levett, what I mean about the Page Three campaign is, can one support it? They don’t just criticise it they want to censor it.”

No they don’t want to censor it; they want to persuade the editor of the Sun to stop putting photographs of topless young ladies in the newspaper.

https://www.facebook.com/NoMorePage3/info?ref=page_internal

Similarly you can’t expect muslims to accept bizarre in the name of free speech.

No-one reasonably expects people to take no offence from anything, but I think it’s reasonable that people ought not feel so offended by a person they literally feel like murdering him.

@Robin Levett. Maybe that makes it ”OK” then, but it’s not very clear at all really. About what is legitimate objection to racism/sexism etc and what is heavy handed censoriousness.

We see how bad things have got at universities now, where the Sun is banned and they pass motions on preventing that silly Robin Thicke song being played.

Then there was this incident recently at Oxford when a debate about abortion was prevented from taking place.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9376232/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/
In my opinion that kind of thing really needs to be gone over and sorted out, but this website has never shown any inclination about wanting to get into ‘that’ kind of discussion.

And I’ve just heard yet another Muslim caller in to LBC radio really not get the difference between the different kinds of offence giving. He says that he is expected to accept his prophet and religion being mocked, yet footballer Mario Balotello who grew up in a Jewish household, got into trouble for making a light hearted tweet about ”grasping coins like a Jew.”
That was one British Muslim caller on the radio an hour ago and I’ve heard loads like that over the last couple of days.

The SWP btw are totally against the Charlie Hebdo magazine for being racist and baiting Muslims. As is George Galloway.
So everything is not always clear and obvious.

Would we have all being saying ”I am Tommy” if it had been the EDL who had been attacked in a terrorist attack?
I really don’t think so.

20. Robin Levett

@damon #16

Entitlement to freedom of speech does not provide an entitlement to a platform or to an audience.

21. Robin Levett

@A Muslim #13:

“Actually you know a liberal is like a girl who use thick layer of cosmetics , show cleavage and conclude herself as beautiful and attractive. More she start giving lectures and beauty tips to hijabi girl preconsidering she is unaware of what is beauty !”

What a bizarre analogy.

“Here we must define free speech.Just like all people don’t accept sex as sex. Some reject bizarre sex and accept lawful sex, some accept bizarre sex. Similarly you can’t expect muslims to accept bizarre in the name of free speech.”

Why is it always about sex?

But, again, why can’t I expect Muslims to “accept bizarre in the name of free speech”. What do you even mean by that? What privileges Muslims – or indeed any religious group?

@Robin Levette #17.
That really is a massive cop out. Hiding behind a ‘no platform’ defence is really shallow usually. So it’s fine to say no platform for Tommy Robinson at Oxford University or Nick Griffin at the BBC? And then when the platform goes somewhere else – like even in the street, those same people will try to shut down those people there too.

Of course no one is obliged to welcome people they strongly disagree with with open arms – or be forced to listen to or engage with them, but this denying platforms has gone too far.

We’ve even had a foreign ”pick-up artist” banned from the country by the Home Secretary.
To deny him a platform I suppose.

Everyone’s at it now. People opposed to Muslim ”hate speakers” try to get their events called off. Even Palestinian rights activist Ben White faced this tactic in Liverpool recently when his campaign group found the booking they had made to hold a talk in some rooms, had been cancelled because an Israel support group complained about him.
I think some of these thing may answer the question in the title heading of this thread.

23. Robin Levett

I’m over here, damon…leave that strawman alone.

Sorry RL, I don’t get it. You’ve bamboozled me.
Are you saying it’s very obvious what is free speech to be defended and what’s hateful and to be shut down?
I’m just as confused as those Muslim callers on the radio I’ve heard then.

25. Robin Levett

@damon #21:

I don’t recall having argued that the BBC, a public service broadcaster with a remit which requires political balance should deny Nick Griffin a platform; could you remind me when I made that argument?

I never said you did. But much of the left was opposed to him being on that programme, and the people who were on the panel with him screwed him over in an unfair kind of way I think.
Not that I was too concerned by that, but that view of ”Oh my god, you can’t say that” continues to this day.
It happened to Nigel Farage just the other day with all the party leaders being ”appalled” at what he said about multiculturalism. They were being dishonest because he wasn’t bemoaning the fact that Britain had lots of people from different races living in it.
But that’s what we’re like today – everyone’s dishonest.

Would we have all being saying ”I am Tommy” if it had been the EDL who had been attacked in a terrorist attack?
I really don’t think so.

In the late 70s, the ACLU lost some support when it proposed to defend the First Amendment rights of a Nazi group that wanted to march in Illinois. The ACLU nevertheless defended the group’s First Amendment rights because of its “commitment to the principle that constitutional rights must apply to even the most unpopular groups if they’re going to be preserved for everyone.”

It is a sad truth that some people who say they support freedom of speech only support it for those they don’t find objectionable.

@damon #14
How much you guys are obsessed about niqab, you even made english verb of it niqabed , niqabing! Nothing is wrong with hijab, problem is with you guys, you see habit as religious outfit but niqab as oppression. Why can’t you see them as religious women? There are many types of hijab traditional, cultural practiced amongst muslims. Muslims even differ across globe about way to wear hijab. This is not oppression for woman as she enjoy all her life but it might be oppression for those pimp eyes which want to see her as meat.

@Robin Levett #18
You seems honest debater who is more interested in finding fallacies and grammer mistakes in debate ! I thought sex is basic need and everyone can understand if I use it to explain things. Tell me your favourite apples, grapes,almonds whatever, next I will use them as analogy talking to you.

I will give you example for bizarre of free speech
Charlie Hebdo fired a cartoonist in 2009 because of anti-semetic cartoon and advocate free speech when they draw anti-islamic ! This is bizarre

29. Robin Levett

@A Muslim #24:

“How much you guys are obsessed about niqab, you even made english verb of it niqabed , niqabing! Nothing is wrong with hijab, problem is with you guys, you see habit as religious outfit but niqab as oppression. Why can’t you see them as religious women? There are many types of hijab traditional, cultural practiced amongst muslims. Muslims even differ across globe about way to wear hijab. This is not oppression for woman as she enjoy all her life but it might be oppression for those pimp eyes which want to see her as meat.”

And yet again you are unable to approach the subject from any other direction than sex.

When Muslim men adopt the same modesty of dress as their women, we can talk. As I understand it, Mohammed enjoined both sexes to dress modestly; subject to the exigencies of work. A male Muslim teacher is subject to the same religious dress requirements as a female Muslim teacher. If a male Muslim teacher isn’t required to wear niqab, then why does the same not apply to a female Muslim teacher?

“You seems honest debater who is more interested in finding fallacies and grammer mistakes in debate !”

Sorry? I hold a warrant card from the grammar (not grammer ;-)) police – but haven’t used it yet here.

“I thought sex is basic need and everyone can understand if I use it to explain things. Tell me your favourite apples, grapes,almonds whatever, next I will use them as analogy talking to you.”

Sex is indeed a basic need; but that doesn’t explain the obsession of all shaes of religious zealot with who puts what in whom. It is said, a propos the American Christian right, that their objective is to get government small enough to fit into the bedroom; but the approach can be generalised.

“I will give you example for bizarre of free speech
Charlie Hebdo fired a cartoonist in 2009 because of anti-semetic cartoon and advocate free speech when they draw anti-islamic ! This is bizarre”

So criticise them for it; nobody is saying that Charlie Hebdo is perfect. That’s what freedom of speech is about. (Oh, and you’ve got your facts wrong – it was a column, not a cartoon).

and the people who were on the panel with [Nick Griffin] screwed him over in an unfair kind of way I think.

He was a real life example of the idiom “give someone enough rope and he’ll hang himself”. He was “screwed over” in the sense of being unable to respond without dissembling or whataboutery.

A Muslim, there are some problems with the niqab, the least of which is you can’t see who anyone is. Is that your mother or your sister walking towards you down the street, or a stranger? Or maybe you just have to recognise the color of what someone wears or guess their shape and height.
When I see them, I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if every man and woman on earth wore a burka-like outfit. It would be total madness. Can you imagine all the workers doing their jobs like that? Bin men, bus drivers, life guards, everyone commuting to work on public transport.
And why are there so few women out on the streets, but men and boys everywhere? Is it that females just prefer not to be outside in the sunshine too much? And aren’t interested in eating in restaurants and sitting in cafes drinking tea like men do?
Is it that they’ve got housework and cooking to be doing?

If homosapiens are not happy in a certain country having to accept and live the way those cultures and laws work then surely they should move to a place where they can live a happy existence.

How many places and what parts of the world can you live in peace with The So Called Freedom of Speech and the ability to express yourself and live a life in a way that you are happy.

The bottom line is : If certain homosapiens are not happy they should move away so they can live/be where they will live a happy life where they will not get angered and criticize everything around them.

Damon@28, and it is said that a lot of radicalization goes on within universities in the United Kingdom !

Diversity and Liberty are the antithesis of each other
Liberty and freedom of thought and speech, among many other things must be sacrificed on the altar of the tin Gods of diversity. Everything must be hazarded to achieve some never defined perfect ethnic, racial, sexual, cultural equlibrium as some kind of station we will get off at once we have achieved it–our economy, culture, national and ethnic identity, social cohesion, public safety, self-determination, and our heritage that has taken a millenia of the blood sweat and toil of our ancestors to build . All just to allow a generation of middle / upper class baby boomers to insasiate their insastiable greed for moral supremacy and hysterical egalitarianism taken to ever increasing heights of scattiness

Left Liberal Progressives claim they are going to build multi-ancestral , multi-historical, multi-mythological. multi-religious experimental utopian projects in all Western countries that only conservative racists won’t like, but in reality they are Building the most anti-liberal artificial social construct ever –a territory of artifically drawn borders consiting of warring tribes that will need an authoritarian police state to keep its inherent contradictions from blowing its lid off.
The Liberal project is doomed to failure when multiculturalism succeeds , because their project is a top down enforced construct rooted in nothing deeper than a series of ideas, intgellectual constructs and abstractions, because it sees Western organically evolved societies as evil artifical constructs, but non -Western organically evolved societies as pefectly normal and natural.
Why is the enlightenment hostile to collective identities ?
Being fundamentally slanted towards the future, it demonises the notions of “tradition ” ” custom ” of rootedness ” of belonging and continuity and sees in these notions outdated superstitions that belong to some former more babarous era, that those more “enlightened ” among us have transcended. Western Liberals have a weakness for all of the ideological New World Man fashion fads and novelties-
The dynamics of modernity tears man asunder from his natural communal ties and replaces those things which make us human with the lowest form of values and human existence possible which is based on economic gain and material aquisitions .
Quantity not quality.

Unliked @29 – and universities should remain open to all kinds of ideas and opinions. Even radical islamist ones.

A problem we have is, that I think no one is listening to anyone they presume they already disagree with.
I’m pretty sure that Sunny would pay no regard to what Peter Hitchens says in the Mail on Sunday for example.
While I’m not a fan of his, I find it hard to disagree with him here.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2904968/The-sinister-screeching-mob-want-kill-free-speech-no-DON-T-mean-Islamist-terrorists-midst.html

37. Robin Levett

@damon #31:

I’d say the main problem with Farage on this is his characteristic mendacity, not his timing. Hitchens is just Hitchens…

The Kouachi brothers were French orphans, brought up in French state-run orphanages and foster homes.

France is the country which introduced a burka ban not long ago – a ban which its courts, and the ECHR, upheld on the ground that it (paraphrasing outrageously) was a measure intended to encourage integration.

Exactly what does this have to do with Europe’s control of its borders, or a controlled immigration policy, to which Farage tried to link it, or multiculturalism?

@Robin Levette. I have little time for Farage myself, but I think he should be taken up properly for what he says in cases like this. You could indeed make the points you just made to him in reply.

He might then come back and say that although France and the UK have differences, there are those similarities around this issue too. Like both countrries having had hundreds of their young people going off to fight in Syria for example.

And that while France hasn’t followed the multicultural line, they have failed at the same time, to integrate large numbers of young people into French society – through neglect perhaps.

The thing is though, that Harriet Harman and the others, don’t actually want to get into that kind of discussion with him or anyone else.

I don’t really want to do yet another link on here to a website that I know was quite dispised by the owner of this blog, but have a look at Frank Furedi’s latest piece in Spiked, where he says things like this:

”France, like many West European societies, finds it difficult publicly to acknowledge the fact that millions of its citizens feel estranged from the cultural traditions and way of life of their homeland. That in some cases this estrangement has crystallised into loathing and hatred for ‘La Patrie’ is even more difficult to admit – especially in public. As a result, European leaders choose to dodge, externalise or dismiss the question of why so many feel alienated from their own societies.”

It’s actually that question that the other party leadership was evading when they rounded on Farage for making his clumsy stab at making a point not so dissimilar.

Farage isn’t inarticulate, he knows his audience, he knows exactly what he’s saying and how it will play out.

@damon 26
So you mean you have problems with niqab and burkha but head scarf, chador, shala , al-amira,khimar, dupatta are ok? There are arguments against hijab in muslim world too that it is not mandatory in Quran,not fundamental requistee etc. But why is it wrong if religious muslims find it comfortable and modest?

Don’t you think internet handles hiding behind proxies are talking each other is pure madness, you know there are reasons behind why it is. Women of the town you visited might enjoy gossiping each other,cooking more than having tea at restaurants I don’t know ! Should some muslim ask a feminist that why men and women have different category in sports? why number of women strippers in bar are much higher than number of men?

@Robin Levett 25
You repost my paragraph and keep dissecting it. I am reading

@ Unliked 27
If homosapiens don’t want to be backfired, they should stop selling war machine to proxies, stop using situation for financial interest, killing innocents and call themselves as peace loving. Hypocrites !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

41. Robin Levett

@damon #33:

I’ve read some of Furedi’s work before, and sometimes wondered what colour the sky is in his world.

Be that as it may, what does the passage you cite have to do with anything Farage said blaming the Charlie Hebdo shootings on mass immigration and failure to integrate the mass immigrants – given that the Kouachi brothers were home-grown terrorists brought up by the state?

And, again, the borders of which Farage claims we have lost control are those within Europe. The cultures which he criticises for not integrating are from the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East, where individual European nations retain full control.

Why do liberals find it so hard to convince about free speech?

As pointed out in the comments here, probably because most liberals are so hypocritical about it themselves.

Robin Levett, you’re right about Farage not really making sense – but that’s not the point. By jumping on the flaws in his logic, his opponents are able to dodge the wider debate.
David Aaronovitch just said that people who were too offended by the likes of Charlie Hebdo should go and live somewhere else then. Normally, saying something like that is deemed to be highly racist. Remember the fuss over an advisor to Boris Johnson who had to resign when said the wrong thing about Caribbean people being so dismayed if (the racist) Johnson became mayor, that many would leave the country?

Farage and right wingers have been making that ”love it or leave it” point for years – and it’s ALWAYS been deemed racist.

Yes the two brothers here were French. But of Algerian origin.
That France has got such a large Algerian origin population is because of history as well as more recent migration patterns.
But if you keep pulling the likes of Farage up on the technicalities of the poor arguments they make – often live on air (so not well thought out) you do everyone a disservice IMO.

I know Sunny H is not really interested in getting into these kinds of discussions, being a day to day pragmatist. Always looking for the right way to look at something …today.
A bit like the SWP in the way that as soon as attacks like this take place they are just focusing on the coming racist backlash etc.

But as Aaronovitch has shown, something hasn’t worked out as it was meant to. Mass immigration has always been defended, at all costs, and now one of it’s leading defenders just says ”if you don’t like our culture of liberty, go away.”
To me that smacks of such arrogance that I’m quite gobsmacked.

I can’t stand the website generally, but I think Harry’s Place’s analysis of the Joe Socco cartoon in the Guardian is really worth reading. The subject is that complex.

http://hurryupharry.org/2015/01/11/a-response-to-joe-sacco/

LOl, well said Damon. It was always the case in the 80s (and probably before that as well) that whenever someone said anything vaguely left-wing or against the Establishment for that person to be told “go and live in Russia then if you don’t like it”. Why should anyone born in a country not have as much right to an opinion as anyone else? That’s politics. Otherwise you have totalitarianism.

On the other hand, if someone is praising a specific government or regime as the way to go, then it does seem reasonable to ask that person why they are wasting their time not being there. For example, an Englishman praising France under Bonaparte, Germany under Hitler or whatever should surely have the courage of his convictions and go and join his preferred political system on the territory it has occupied.

I suppose it really comes down to how strongly the person holds their belief and how they intend to go about it. Honest democratic discussion, yes. Propaganda or armed insurrection on behalf of a foreign power, no!

the white middle class guardianistas and you sunny hundal have spent good on 20 years appeasing and turning a blind eye to radical fascist islam and the horrors that come with this ideology if left unchecked,the chickens came home to roost now not only in the uk but in france where these islamists turned there guns on these journalists from the left wing leaning liberal charlie hebdo satirical magazine,if the left thought by forming an alliance with radical fascist islam they found a freind,the events in france should be a wake up call to you all,there is an old saying,the biggest fool is the fool that fools himself,the fools on the left who appeased radical fascist islam should hold there heads in shame now.

46. Churm Rincewind

@ Damon: You recommend the Harry’s Place analysis of the issues under discussion. Well, Harry’s Place is hardly an impartial source of opinion on such matters, but I wonder whether you’d be prepared to justify its claim that “if you publish something that blasphemes against Islam, and you want to be morally consistent and avoid charges of hypocrisy, you’re not allowed to object to antisemitism. Essentially, what Sacco is doing is taking Charlie Hebdo to task for not being antisemitic enough”.

How does this follow? I can’t see it.

The best thing about freedom of speech is that nobody has to listen.

UKliberty @30 – just on Griffin – as dreadful as he is, the BNP did have the potential to say some things which would strike a cord with large sections of the public, and so the most important thing was to never allow them to get any points like that across. In the end Griffin was not a great threat because of his lack of charisma, but potentially their anti mass immigration message could have had resonance.
That they failed is of course excellent, but we can see in the rise of Ukip that that sentiment among the public has found a less toxic outlet. Because you can’t make everyone like the new modern diversity of our most diverse areas. Some people just won’t.

English editions of Charlie Hebdo are coming out tomorrow.
Where would it be NOT acceptable to sell them? (In the street, Socialist Worker style).
I’m sure plenty of universities wouldn’t allow it to be sold on the campus. Outside the student’s union building at lunchtime for example.

What about aound Brick Lane in Tower Hamlets?
Would that be seen as too provocative and like the EDL, or even the old National Front paper sales when they used to go down there? If any local Bangladeshi youths objected, would it be OK to tell them what David Aaronovitch has said – and tell them to leave the country if they didn’t like it?
I think our police force would be getting involved and they would be deciding on who could do what where.
They’d probably treat any people selling Charlie Hebdo like the EDL.

@46. Churm Rincewind.
I’ve recommended that thread they had on the Joe Sacco cartoon strip. It’s really complicated, and probably above my ability to do the subject justice here now. I struggle with it.
But I read things like that anyway.

Loads of people are having a go at trying to analyse all the fallout of what happened in Paris, and it’s a bit of a free-for-all. But so far, I’ve come to reject the Richard Seymour view (a blogger whose view on this has got quite a lot of coverage). He has the classic ”it’s racist – and Western interference in the Muslim world is to blame” point of view.
So I reject that, and sadly I thought Robert Fisk was wide of the mark too when he did his Algerian history lesson in his last column. But I think the Harry’s Place argument might just win it about the Joe Sacoo cartoon.
It’s a very close run thing though. Everyone’s got a different point of view.

I am not against moderate liberals but against radical liberals.

52. Robin Levett

@damon #53:

“…you’re right about Farage not really making sense – but that’s not the point. By jumping on the flaws in his logic, his opponents are able to dodge the wider debate.”

And of course you’re here to define the wider debate for us?

Farage is one of a rare breed of politician – instead of twisting and misrepresenting the facts, he is prepared to create his own (take the Peruvian cat-owner convicted of manslaughter, who turned up again in a toned-down version in 2011 at the Tory conference). He leads a party whose members are convinced that they can tell who is or is not an immigrant by looking at a photograph; and which fans the flames of anti-immigration hysteria in a country whose population routinely overestimates immigration.

Why you think he should be given a free pass because his instinctive reactions (“often live on air”) are so shallow and mendacious I have no idea.

“Yes the two brothers here were French. But of Algerian origin.”

Did you miss the fact that they were brought up in a French state-run orphanage? Or do you believe that radical Islamism is genetic?

I’m not going to comment on Aaronovitch, partly because I haven’t read the column; but I have read the Harry’s Place analysis of the Joe Sacco cartoon, and am mildly surprised – maybe I shouldn’t be, I do not frequent the site – at the distance by which Quizblorg misses the point of the cartoon.

Robin Levett, I think this is not the medium for such a discussion, or I’m just not up to it – one or the other.
One of my points is that Farage is an arse. That’s so obvious.
Ukip are quite mad, that’s obvious too. But unfortunately, a large percentage of the British public will go on instinct or feelings with what they say, because they are so sick of listening to slick mainstream politicians who bullshit them.

Take a look at the BBC Panorama programme I just watched called ”The battle for British Islam” and then think what would be the most common reaction in Britain if that was watched widely. I think it would be one of alarm or certainly concern at what has happened here.
”The Daily Mail reaction” you could call it.

And unlike the silly Farage etc, you can’t just wish that reaction away.
It’s far easier to just focus on someone like Farage though and laugh at the hash he’d make of it if he tried to reference some of the issues in that programme in an interview.
Because he’d get some things wrong. He’d mix up British multiculturalism with French assimilation, and he’d call some British citizens ”immigrants” or a mistake like that.
And then you can just laugh off the whole premise of the Panorama programme. It is a way of defeating your ideological opponents, but it’s pretty obviously a tactic in my opinion.
So even where he does cock it up, or is ripped apart by an aggressive interviewer like James O’Brien, what he’s getting at or trying to say, can still come across to people.
People will pick up on the wider point even if he didn’t say it perfectly. Because that has been their feeling too.

In the Panorama programme, one of the Muslim guys there said that non violent extremists had grown more powerful in the last ten years and that it was becoming more mainstream.
Kind of like the EDL were saying really.
But what people on the left have done, is to only focus on how horrible people like the EDL and Ukip are.

The subject is very complex. Not many people are getting it exactly right, but Kenan Malik is the best that I can see.
He just wrote another piece on his blog, titled ”Assimilation verses Multiculturalism” – and he explains why they haven’t been so different in France and Britain actually.

https://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/assimilationism-vs-multiculturalism/#comment-15267

Damon 48 – UKIP isn’t less toxic than BNP, only more insidious and cunning. If anything, i’d say UKIP is more toxic. Unlike Griffin, Farage is charismatic and a brilliant rhetorician (with occasional slips) and demagogue. He is expert at taking legitimate grievances which have been suppressed and ignored by the liberal elite and using them for his own purposes. Someone was bound to do it, you can’t shut millions of people up forever.

55. Robin Levett

@damon #53:

“One of my points is that Farage is an arse. That’s so obvious.
Ukip are quite mad, that’s obvious too. But unfortunately, a large percentage of the British public will go on instinct or feelings with what they say, because they are so sick of listening to slick mainstream politicians who bullshit them.

It’s far easier to just focus on someone like Farage though and laugh at the hash he’d make of it if he tried to reference some of the issues in that programme in an interview.”

I’m not laughing. Farage has a very decent chance of being in a position to dictate the future course of the UK following the next general election. He is not a bumbling fool; he is a slick, dishonest politician who manages to avoid being tarred with the same brush as all other politicians because his lies correpond with what a significant proportion of voters believe to be the truth. Mainstream politicians apparently either do not want, or are too scared, to call out his lies because (i)they fear that he will be believed over them, and (ii) anyway they are telling a modified form of his lies themselves.

He is not a sideshow.

Robin Levett 52 – you’re right, imo. Having read the piece in Harry’s Place suggested by Damon and looked at the cartoon it looks like HP man has totally missed the point. Duh!

Sacco rocks.

57. Robin Levett

@birdie #54;

“He is expert at taking legitimate grievances which have been suppressed and ignored by the liberal elite and using them for his own purposes.”

This:

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/oct/29/todays-key-fact-you-are-probably-wrong-about-almost-everything

is why Farage is so popular; and why the grievances he relies on are not legitimate. Just like the claim that discussion of immigration is suppressed. Over the last 50 years, immigration has been a constant theme of British politics “Rivers of blood” was in 1968.

The correct reaction is, as Duffy, (Ipsos Mori’s MD) put it:

“The real peril of these misperceptions is how politicians and policymakers react. Do they try to challenge people and correct their view of reality or do they take them as a signal of concern, the result of a more emotional reaction and design policy around them?

Clearly the ideal is to do a bit of both – politicians shouldn’t misread these misperceptions as people simply needing to be re-educated and then their views will change – but they also need to avoid policy responses that just reinforce unfounded fears.”

Farage is all about “policy responses that just reinforce unfounded fears”. His diagnosis of the reasons for the housing crisis in London? Immigrants coming in from Eastern Europe. He ignores the fact that government policies over the last 35 years have led to a reduction in housebuilding of 130,000 houses a year; but of course neither the Tories, who started the rot with right to buy and capital controls on Council housebuilding, nor Labour, who did nothing about increasing housebuilding when in power, want to go there.

A Muslim 51 – moderate liberals (call them left liberals, eg Vince Cable) or extreme liberals (right liberals, eg Matthew Paris) they’re all still liberals on the liberal spectrum. They have the liberal tradition in common, it’s just that they have different emphases.

A similar analogy is in the anarchist tradition. As Robert Anton Wilson pointed out you get left anarchists like Kropotkin or Morris, all the way to right anarchists like himself who stress the freedom of the individual rather than the community.

In the Muslim tradition you have moderate Muslims who are easy going on others, have never taken up the headscarf and so on, all the way to extreme Muslims like those flogging human rights activists and rape victims in the Middle East, with the full power of government and Muslim tradition behind them.

Robin, you may choose to bury your head in the sand and ignore your fellow citizens, but those of us who do take an interest in others know that millions of British people are angry about what the ruling classes have imposed on this country.

60. Robin Levett

@birdie #59:

“Robin, you may choose to bury your head in the sand and ignore your fellow citizens, but those of us who do take an interest in others know that millions of British people are angry about what the ruling classes have imposed on this country.”

Quite the contrary – I think that something should be done to counter the widespread ignorance demonstrated by the survey, so that evidence-based (as opposed to prejudice-based) policy has a chance of being formulated and accepted. Millions of British people may well be angry about what they believe the ruling classes have imposed on this country; but lets get back to basics and establish what has been imposed before proposing solutions to what might actually not be a problem.

Three more figures from the survey; the British people believe that the Muslim population amounts to 21% of this country – it’s 5%; and that 39% are Christian – it’s 59%. It believes that just above 16% of teenage girls aged 15-19 give birth each year (presumably so they can be allocated a Council house) – whereas just 3% do so.

So is teenage pregnancy a problem or not? The British people believes so, and wants a solution – but the figures suggest otherwise, and that no solution is necessary.

61. Robin Levett

…and one more:

The British people believe that the runout at the alst general election was 49% – a figure which might well warrant extreme measures; but in fact it was 66%, which while still too low doesn’t need a panic reaction. When extreme measures risk weakening, rather than strengthening, our democracy, there is a clear need for the true picture to be understood.

62. Robin Levett

runout = turnout; alst = last

64. Robin Levett

…and UK teenage pregnancy rates are falling – in 1967 the rate was just short of 5% – see:

http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=WDI&f=Indicator_Code%3ASP.ADO.TFRT

(The figures are in births per thousand women).

Birdy, on the Sacco cartoon, if you take that view that’s fine. It’s such a complex issue that everyone is going to see it differently. Can I suggest this though as well?

French leftist writes a letter ”To my British friends”
http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/french-leftist-writes-a-letter-to-my-british-friends/

Robin Levett, on Farage, you may really dislike him and think he’s dangerous, but some of the things he says on immigration are just popular. Many or most have been a bit alarmed of how much of it we’ve had. You can’t really get around that.
On mistaken ideas and how they’ve got the numbers wrong – fair point, but maybe they just dont understand percentages very well, or they overestimate because they think that everywhere else is like where they live. So ask a Londoner and they may give you a high figure for the country as a whole, forgetting about places like Devon and the Highlands of Scotland where there are relatively few immigrants. And of course the confusion between immigrants and their children.
Young Muslim boys who you see in their religious dress going off to madrassa classes after school, won’t be immigrants, but their family culture is different to the traditional British one. So it can look like there are more ”immigrants” around than there actually are.

That Ukip are said to be such racists for calling for an Australian style points system is a bit harsh I think.
Maybe the Australians have to be called racist for their system also.
They will also say things that are utterly shocking to some people …. like, that too many immigrants came to the UK in the last twenty years.
That is seen as such a terrible thing to say because some people could be hurt by it. It could mean you and your family, so we make that unrespectable for people to talk about publicly.

Not that I care one way or the other, but I still don’t know how so many West Africans got the right to move to the UK for example. I know a couple and have worked with many, but still don’t understand what was the way they managed to get permission to move to Britain originally. I was recently working off Old Kent Road in London and there are so many Ghanans living there, it was a bit of a mystery.

Ukip would say that was a mistake – and that’s what’s not polite to say for a politician. You’re just not meant to say things like that, even if most people agreed and wanted that source of migration to be curtailed. Ukip aren’t talking about any kind of repatriation, just halting the flows like that.

It’s certainly changed the look of the area. The neighbourhood around Millwall football club now looks more African than south London Cockney geezer. And of course not everyone will like that. It affects even the crime statistics and the types of crimes. There’s been a few stabbings already this year in London and I usually presume they involve young black lads, often of African immigrant parents. All the youngsters speak a horrible new accent called ‘multicultural London English’ and life becomes a bit more complex.
When the police try to police them, they get slated for being institutionally racist.
Also you have things like Islam and alienation thrown into the mix.
I understand why people will listen to people like Ukip over Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman.

Whether people know the statistics on immigration, “teen pregnancy” (huh?) or whatever is irrelevant. Very few people, presumably including you Robin Levett, know chapter and verse on every single aspect of life. I don’t know all the figures on climate change, wildlife and habitat destruction, or antibiotic resistance, for example, but I still know that we’ve got to take the appropriate measures to tackle them.

Of course some things, like “teen pregnancy” are connected to perceived “morality” and thus generate mild hysteria amongst a few poker-up-the-bum types, but they are not really issues for most people. Are you trying a red herring here?

Immigration on the other hand is a red button issue for millions. Where I live in a town where we do have tens of thousands of workers imported to do boring jobs that Brits don’t want to do, local people walk round the town and hearing every second person talking a foreign language that they can’t understand, they get upset. Maybe they’re wrong to get upset. It doesn’t really bother me because I’m multingual myself and enjoy languages, but the fact still remains, huge numbers of British people are angry, and in a democracy (you do want these people to have the vote don’t you?) their opinions cannot be silenced forever, whether you and the Confederation of British Industry like it or not.

65 Damon, yes interesting essay, some of which I agreed with and some not, but I’ll not go through it point by point. Life’s too short!

The point about Sacco’s cartoon seemed to be, as you say funnily enough, that yes we in Europe have gotten into a fiendishly complex muddle with all this and it’s not going to be easy to see our way through.

In terms of specifics of this one case. So, these French satirists did edgy cartoons of a better or worse quality depending on your view but some of which were frankly crass and rubbishy, and seemingly picking on vulnerable minorities, in the French context, rather than the rich and powerful who should be the targets. They pushed the boundaries and (quite knowingly and deliberately) offended a large group of particularly nasty, vengeful and ideologically driven people some of whom set out and brutally massacred them to terrify anyone thinking of doing the same as Charlie.

So far that’s my take on the situation and the Sacco cartoon. To me the following statements are also included in the picture:

Obviously murdering people is wrong, no matter what the provocation.

Obviously this kind of satire is a legitimate French tradition and no way should be stopped by such intimidation and terrorism.

What this shouldn’t mean, however, is that we all have to bow down to Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as saints. Nor does it mean that they are beyond criticism – or satire – themselves.

I welcome the defiant stance taken since the terrorist attack. Hopefully it will bring matters more to a head. I only hope that we can cope with the consequences.

It does seem grotesque though that we in Europe are focussing on our own troubles to the near exclusion of what has happened and is happening in Nigeria, Yemen, Mali, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Rojava and all the rest of the places, much of which is down to Euro-American elites’ meddling, ignorance and rapacity.

Robin Levett. Yes, all I’d suggest really is that people read a range of views on this. But some suggestions I hear – like on the radio programmes I’ve been listening to, show people who have tunnel vison. Often Muslims themselves who talk like there was a monolithic world community and view about these things – that they are all offended by the same things.
You made this point yourself when you said: ”and seemingly picking on vulnerable minorities”

You will know now that that wasn’t the Charlie Hebdo intention for doing what they did, but you might be able to say that people were too thick, or that they were being too clever by half. They were against the stupid backward nature of religious dogma …that if you go to Muslim countries you can see so obviously in practice. The subservient position of women for example. I see it where I am now in a Muslim part of Sri Lanka. Women stay home lot. You don’t talk to women who you ”have no business” talking to etc.

If you have a situation like in France where people are going to resent you even talking about that, then you have a problem. I was in Egypt a year ago and couldn’t get out of my mind something I’d read about a majority of Egyptian women having undergone FGM. Obviosly it was not a subject that I, a western tourist, could talk about with any Egyptian, because that would have been taboo. They have women only carriages on the Cairo metro to stop the amount of groping which is so rife because of the way men are socialised.
But again, are we being told, don’t talk about this because it makes Muslims feel they’re being picked on?

When I see a young Somali girl in London wearing a ”training hijab” at the age of six, I think it’s pretty backward of her parents to put her in it. But it’s not my place to say anything. Charlie Hebdo thought they had a duty to mock such things I think. And they were doing it (I think they thought) for the people from those communities who felt overburdened with their religious heritage and who might want to distance themselves from it somewhat.
So that you might have some parent think ”actually, we shouldn’t put our six year old in a training hijab, because we don’t think her sexuality needs to be hidden from lustful men, because she isn’t a sexual being”.
Or give people the idea that it was OK not to take the religion too seriously and that it might not be the truth either.

The Muslims who are objecting, seem to be ignoring these aspects. Like the kind of people who would say that there is no homosexuality in the Muslim community, because no Muslim would behave in such a sinful way. Where does that leave gay Muslims? Very isolated.

That they are printing three million copies of the magazine for tomorrow is quite exciting really. I’d like to see it sold on the streets of Britain, just to kick start the conversation. You have to debate ideas – you can’t really have taboos. Especially not one as draconian as the ” don’t criticise our religion” one.
Because otherwise the West can end up like Pakistan, where people are too afraid to speak out against the religious zealots who are destroying the country.

Damn, sorry – that last one was for birdie.

birdie,

Whether people know the statistics on immigration, “teen pregnancy” (huh?) or whatever is irrelevant. Very few people, presumably including you Robin Levett, know chapter and verse on every single aspect of life. I don’t know all the figures on climate change, wildlife and habitat destruction, or antibiotic resistance, for example, but I still know that we’ve got to take the appropriate measures to tackle them.

Well, obviously we have to “take the appropriate measures to tackle” problems, but how can someone know if a proposed measure to tackle a problem is “appropriate” if he’s ignorant about the problem?

Hi Damon, none of what you wrote there goes against my point.

Speak out against whatever you perceive as injustice by all means. I shall do likewise. The more people that do that the better.

73. Robin Levett

@birdie #67:

“Whether people know the statistics on immigration, “teen pregnancy” (huh?) or whatever is irrelevant…

Immigration on the other hand is a red button issue for millions.”

I’m flabbergasted. It’s not a matter of being a few decimal points out; it’s (for immigration) being out by a factor of two. It’s a “red button issue” (whatever that means) because of its perceived scale; but reality doesn’t match perception.

The figures show clearly that the press and politicians are failing the electorate by misinforming them to their own ends; how can that be a good thing?

“Where I live in a town where we do have tens of thousands of workers imported to do boring jobs that Brits don’t want to do, local people walk round the town and hearing every second person talking a foreign language that they can’t understand, they get upset.”

That town does not exist as described. Just as the train out of London Bridge that Farage described was a fiction of his imagination (I’ve ridden that train).

74. Robin Levett

@damon #66:

“Robin Levett, on Farage, you may really dislike him and think he’s dangerous, but some of the things he says on immigration are just popular. Many or most have been a bit alarmed of how much of it we’ve had. You can’t really get around that.”

They are a bit alarmed at how much immigration *they* *think* we’ve had – but the Ipsos Mori shows that people massively overestimate how much we’ve actually had. Part of the reason they over-estimate is that people like Farage exaggerate, and people like Cameron and their press supporters don’t want to correct his lies. That’s because it’s convenient to allow Farage to blame the housing crisis on immigration, which they in turn blame on the EU, when the true cause is Tory policy (on both sides of the House) which has hammered the building of Council housing while offering no replacement. Over the last 35 years this has led to 4.5 million homes not being built – in a country which has around 27 million homes.

The effect of this is an atmosphere conducive to policy which does serious damage to our national interest and harms the most vulnerable in our society for example by restricting the ability of public and private research institutions to bring in talent to supplement home-grown talent; by increasing pressure for inhuman(e) policy restrictions on who can access social housing; and by increasing pressure to leave the EU.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the claims that immigrants jump the queue for housing over those who’ve lived here all their lives and that teenagers the country over are sprogging so that they can get their own council house on their 18th birthday. They just aren’t true – but politicians want to be seen to be doing something about the perceived problem, rather than correcting the misconceptions and going on to solve harder problems that actually need solving.

75. Robin Levett

@damon #66:

And another thing; has it occurred to you to wonder why black people tend to live in poorer neighbourhoods?

Or, á propos your presumption of the race of those guilty of crime, whether the facts that black people are routinely discriminated against in employment and that criminality is overwhelmingly a function of social and economic deprivation might have some relevance?

Robin Levett, I think you are giving Farage too much credit for shaping people’s opinions. From what I’ve picked up, people are more likely to have racist views, in London and then south east anyway, because of their actual experience of what areas of very high diversity are like. And reading the newspapers of course. Including the local newspapers, which are often full of local crime stories. So for example, I know of people who have said racist things because of reading the Croydon Advertiser. Because they record crime and Croydon being the kind of place it is, quite a few of the people who are convicted of all the street crime are black and often have African sounding names. Or are the victims of knife crime etc. Croydon changed hugely in its demographic profile since the 70s. So much so, that controversial Lee Jasper stood in the Croydon North by-election a couple of years ago because he thought the seat fitted a profile where his Respect Party (ie divisive) politics would get a hearing.

So in my opinion, people can be become racist because they see what Croydon is like now when they go there for shopping or they work there. It now gets into the ” worst places to live in Britain top ten” and some of that will be because of the diverse poverty. On getting the percentages wrong, I think its more because people don’t understand maths very well.

But most people can get the figures of two or three extra million people. Or is it four or five we’ve had in recent years? And the projections for the population to move towards 70 million. Where are those people all supposed to live?
This is where Ukip and Migration Watch come in with their idea of needing new cities the size of Birmingham every so often.
That bit’s actually true I think.

Anyway, I’m sure Sunny H doesn’t approve of his website hosting this kind of discission. You can argue about immigration and diversity however you like. It wouldn’t matter if we had another ten million immigrants from third world countries, people who support that would still be on the front foot denying there were any problems and that anyone who raised objections was just a bigot etc.

As for the notion of poverty and crime. One argument I’ve heard, is that we have imported poverty, and that because we are such a racist country apparently, young people born into those immigrant families are immediately disadvantaged and potentially alienated – like in the Paris suburbs too.
And the racists of course will tell you that’s why they were always opposed to mass immigration.

It’s a very complex issue, and in the years of the running of this website for example, I don’t think it ever got to grips with the subject properly. Because I don’t think you can talk about this subject properly on such a forum. Everybody spins.

Birdie, that’s fine. I think that guy from MPACUK, the Muslim Forum, who has been denouncing the dead cartoonists on TV and radio as racists, is a disgrace though. He’s worse than Douglas Murray on the other side of the argument.
There is a serious problem with ”islamisation” in Britain, otherwise there wouldn’t be an audience for all these crackpot (so called) hate speakers giving talks in the UK. They really do have an audience. Quite a big one.
Who’s worse, them or Charlie Hebdo?
The islamists are worse of course.

77. Robin Levett

@damon #75:

“Robin Levett, I think you are giving Farage too much credit for shaping people’s opinions.”

Far from it. He is riding a wave created by decades of misinformation by a popular press combined with a wilful refusal (at best) by Governments of all hues to correct that misinformation.

“Because [newspapers] record crime and Croydon being the kind of place it is, quite a few of the people who are convicted of all the street crime are black and often have African sounding names.”

Most of whom, of course, are not immigrants; defined in the survey and the Census as foreign-born residents.

According to the Met, Croydon’s crime rate (at 6.84) is below the average for the Met (at 7.46) and dropping.

Croydon’s black population (which is of course much higher than the black immigrant population) is only 20% of its total population.

“…On getting the percentages wrong, I think its more because people don’t understand maths very well.

But most people can get the figures of two or three extra million people. Or is it four or five we’ve had in recent years?…”

I’m sorry, but this doesn’t make sense. The percentages are what people have most direct experience with; they don’t need to “understand maths very well”. They can count how many black or brown faces they see when they’re out shopping; and yet they get it wrong – partly of course because of an assumption that everyone who is a different colour is an immigrant.

The overall figures they have to rely on the press for; and that is 7.1 million in 2011, up by 2.5 million since 2001.

Would you be surprised to learn that the top 5 countries of origin for immigrants in the 2011 census were (in order) India, Poland, Pakistan, Ireland and Germany? And that Poland, Ireland and Germany accounted for more in total that India and Pakistan?

“Where are those people all supposed to live?
This is where Ukip and Migration Watch come in with their idea of needing new cities the size of Birmingham every so often.
That bit’s actually true I think.”

And that is the issue; it is true that we have a housing crisis, and UKIP and Migration Watch do some maths and decide that immigration is the cause of that crisis. It is not; the real problem is that we are 4.5 million homes short because of Tory policy (implemented by Governments of both colours) since 1979 – but neither party wants to point that out for obvious reasons. So instead we get prejudice-based policy-making; insofar as the shortfall in housebuilding is referred to, it is blamed on the planning system, despite the fact that private sector housebuilders are sitting on piles of land either with planning permission or that they have not sought permission for.

“One argument I’ve heard, is that we have imported poverty, and that because we are such a racist country apparently, young people born into those immigrant families are immediately disadvantaged and potentially alienated – like in the Paris suburbs too.
And the racists of course will tell you that’s why they were always opposed to mass immigration.”

I’m not going to comment on this besides inviting you to consider circularity.

78. Robin Levett

@damon #75:

This was directed at birdie, but…

“There is a serious problem with ”islamisation” in Britain, otherwise there wouldn’t be an audience for all these crackpot (so called) hate speakers giving talks in the UK. They really do have an audience. Quite a big one.”

How big? According to popular belief, 1 in 5 residents in this country is Muslim, giving a potential audience of the extremist fraction of c11 million.

On the other hand, according to UK census data, less than 1 in 20 in England and Wales were Muslim – giving a potential audience of the extremist fraction of 2.7 million.

Yes, there is a problem, and possibly a serious problem; but it isn’t a mass problem.

72 Robin Levett – there you go again, denying the reality of other peoples’ experience. There are lots of towns in the UK where you walk around them at least half of the people you hear talking are talking in a foreign language.

As I say, that doesn’t bother me because I think foreign languages and people are interesting. Sadly though, most people haven’t had the privilege of much education so they get frightened and upset by it all.

Most non-Brits are concentrated into the small areas where there is lots of dull, low-wage work (the reason they have been brought here after all!) which is why local people in those small and deprived areas perceive that there are a lot more than the overall average figure for the UK. Foreign nationals are not spread evenly over the whole country. You won’t find many foreign people living in posh places and the vast areas of the leafy countryside where all the rich people live now.

Democracy means that everyone gets a vote Robin, even poor people whose views you don’t like.

Sometimes I pity these liberals who are running after free speech which really doesn’t exists as they think.

They hate those who use free speech to dismantle their systems and beliefs, want to jail them, deport them and denounce them but support when free speech try to disturb other’s beliefs and systems.

What made them so hypocrites is that they are unaware of that free speech is a biased element, it’s not truth, it’s just a plateform which can be used by both, good or bad intentions.Their intentions to destroy other’s belief and systems are going to be responded by that belief and system.

They are comfortable when democracy of one nation don’t give equal rights to citizen of another nation but call a problem when theocracy of one religion don’t give equal rights to adherent of another religion.

Quranic solution “unto you your belief, unto me mine” can bring peace. If no! war has began already, you can’t stop it. Man made technologies don’t have advantage over human technology.

Robin Levett, I think you are giving Farage too much credit for shaping people’s opinions. From what I’ve picked up, people are more likely to have racist views, in London and then south east anyway, because of their actual experience of what areas of very high diversity are like.

I think the data shows the more ‘racist’ or concerned-about-immigration people (I’m not claiming they are racist) are in areas that have little or no immigration.

“I think the data shows the more ‘racist’ or concerned-about-immigration people (I’m not claiming they are racist) are in areas that have little or no immigration are not ‘diverse’.”

83. Robin Levett

@birdie #78:

“there you go again, denying the reality of other peoples’ experience. There are lots of towns in the UK where you walk around them at least half of the people you hear talking are talking in a foreign language. ”

That wasn’t the claim you made, which was that:

“local people walk round the town and hearing every second person talking a foreign language that they can’t understand, they get upset.”

It may be true that half the people speaking may be speaking a foreign language – which is meaningless if only 1 in 100 people (say) are speaking at all. It is another thing entirely to say that half the people in the town are speaking a foreign language.

I was brought up just outside Gravesend, and have lived (and worked) in Streatham and Brixton, worked in Wembley, Walthamstow and Wood Green, have regularly shopped in Croydon and currently live and shop in Bromley. I’ve never had the experience you describe – and yet those areas are largely precisely those areas where I would be most likely to have such an experience.

“Most non-Brits are concentrated into the small areas where there is lots of dull, low-wage work (the reason they have been brought here after all!)”

Non-brits, or immigrants?

“Democracy means that everyone gets a vote Robin, even poor people whose views you don’t like.”

Quote me saying anything to the contrary.

But, while everyone is entitled to their own opinions (and to cast their vote according to those opinions) they are not entitled to their own facts. My point is that if the true facts were better known, opinions might change. But both the press and the parties of government in this country are invested in and actively encourage the current perceptions.

Robin is quite right here and I’m not sure commenters understand the extent of misperception or what may result. To take an example other than immigration than housing, consider welfare fraud. The mean estimate of welfare fraud is that £24 out of every £100 is fraudulently claimed. That would be shocking if it were accurate and we might consider spending a few billion on some kind of system to reduce it.

But the actual figure is 70 pence in every £100. So the mean estimate is 33 times the real figure. That’s less shocking than £24, 24% or just shy of a quarter, isn’t it? It’s not even one per cent. Now that few billion pounds to reduce welfare fraud looks less worthwhile doesn’t it?

Robin Levett, I think it’s far more a complex picture than you describe I think. And I have rarely seen it accurately described. Take a London borough like Croydon for example.
It’s pretty divided between an affluent and suburban south and a much more urban and working class north. So figures about race for the whole borough aren’t that useful. Crime figures maybe coming down now, but they certainly went up from what they used to be a few decades ago. There were no gangs then that I remember particularly. Although some of the nightclubs were a bit violent. The demography changed in a major way as black and minority ethnic people moved south from south London’s inner city. As Brixton gentrified, Thornton Heath and Norwood got a bit more rough. None of this had much of an effect on the leafy areas in the south.

One thing that can fool people into thinking that the BME population is higher, is just being in the high streets of some of these local areas. Peckham is a prime example. Walk down Rye Lane and you might think that hardly any white people lived around there. They do.There are pockets of affluence and big expensive houses just nearby, but you didn’t see them shopping down the high street very much, because it’s got that run down shabby ghetto feel to it.
You might think the same thing if you walked down Green Lanes in Harringay. It looks like it’s all Turkish and non white, but there are loads of big houses off that road that are full of white middle class professionals. Perhaps they just don’t shop there so much.

Schools are another thing where you see how there is a bit of a race and class divide going on. In Dulwich for example. A posh enclave in a working class borough. And what do you see? Posh white children being taken to private schools by their posh parents (or even nannies) while all the black kids of African parentage go to the big state school.
The children of the different schools won’t even talk with the same accents. Multicultural London English (MLE) being the local way of speaking for most state school children now.
So some parents, like Diane Abbott, will do anything to stop their child going to a school where they speak MLE.

I can’t help it, but even when I hear stories like yesterday’s about Feltham young offenders prison and how violent it is, I think of race. They say there are 40 gangs in the prison.
What sort of gangs might they be?
White Aryan gangs like in the USA prison system?
Very unlikely. Even though Feltham is for the whole wider London area, I think it’s pretty guarenteed that MLE is spoken there a lot more widely than any Cockney sounding or Estuary accents. But I’m just going on a couple of YouTube’s I saw on Feltham.

Have you listened to Camila Batmanghelidjh of Kid’s Company talking about the damaged young people they work with?
They are not immigrants, but race plays a huge factor in what’s going on there.
As for Irish immigrants, do they even count any more?
The Irish pretty much stopped coming to England in large numbers years ago. My parents are Irish but they’ve been in England the majority of their lives. They don’t really count I think. Or really anyone who’s been in the UK a long time.

At least watch/listen to the Mark Easton bit of the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6qEWpdgux0#t=2202

A Muslim 79 – Yes you are right, liberals are a pitiable bunch!

Robin Levett 72 says “The effect of this is an atmosphere conducive to policy which does serious damage to our national interest and harms the most vulnerable in our society for example by restricting the ability of public and private research institutions to bring in talent to supplement home-grown talent; by increasing pressure for inhuman(e) policy restrictions on who can access social housing; and by increasing pressure to leave the EU.” etc etc

Robin, you are a Wonk and I claim my £5.

You’re not the Robin Levett at Waltham Forest are you?

Sad to have to tell you this, but the way you just blast on as you do with no interest whatsoever in how us little people at the sharp end of all your “policy” see things, is exactly the sort of New Labour type nonsense that forces people into the arms of your political opponents. Along with the Islamist extremists, you and your ilk are the best recruiters for Farage!

Can I just recommend this book I read several years ago that influenced my thinking on some of these things?
It’s by a black university professor from Philadelphia who had studied the different kinds of ”codes” and behaviour in different parts of that city. From codes of civility in well off suburbs, to ”codes of the street” in poor neighbourhoods.

And he explained how sometimes, places were actually more mixed than you might think they were if you looked at the people walking down the street, or playing basketball on some outdoor courts there. That would be because many local residents, who had jobs and were regular tax paying people, avoided the local neighbourhood because they didn’t feel too comfortable walking in it. So while it might look like a poor black area, with run down shops and people hanging out outside liquor stores etc, it was actually quite a mixed working class neighbourhood.
I’ve often thought about how these things play out in London.
They are certainly there, but not talked about much.

Here’s a link to an article about the book.

http://articles.philly.com/1999-08-15/living/25483300_1_code-chestnut-hill-starbucks

Sad to have to tell you this, but the way you just blast on as you do with no interest whatsoever in how us little people at the sharp end of all your “policy” see things,…

On the contrary, how and why people see things is the very point of Robin’s comments.

91. Robin Levett

@birdie #82:

“Sad to have to tell you this, but the way you just blast on as you do with no interest whatsoever in how us little people at the sharp end of all your “policy” see things, is exactly the sort of New Labour type nonsense…”

Enough with the insults, Wolfie; the fact that you expect your biopic to star Robert Lindsay doesn’t mean that mine will.

You really haven’t been reading what I’ve been saying, have you? My whole point is that how people see things is conditioned by their perceptions. The Ipsos Mori poll shows that on a number of important issues, that perception is wholly at variance with the facts.

If your problem is that I doubt the truth of your claims to have experienced high streets where half of the people don’t speak English: tough. It’s because I doubt *your* claim, on the basis of my own experience. Whether you self-define as *a* “little people” or not, you are not *the* “little people” – you do not speak for all.

Robin Levett, this is interesting: ”that perception is wholly at variance with the facts”

You may have a point, but it’s far from the whole story.
Walk though the market in Whitechapel and what will you hear?
Even the market traders call out in Bengali or other languages, because that’s who their customers are.
Lots of places seem to have been ”colonised” by Asian shops to the point that the whole high street caters more to that part of the population. Southall, East Ham, Tooting …. and I’m not saying this is a problem or anything. Without those businesses many of our high streets and shopping parades would just have no shops on them. But some of the businesses are very bottom of the market and can make a place look run down and shabby. Just how many cheap booze newsagent/general stores does one stretch of road need? And all the halal fried chicken shops and the rest? Obviously there’s a market for them, and if gentrification takes place, they’ll be replaced by different kinds of businesses.

I don’t think arguing about the numbers or perceptions of the numbers is that worthwhile. Walk down Tottenham High Road or through Wood Green, Finsbury Park, Walthamstow, Wembley, New Cross and Camberwell and you will just see the massive change there has been in the last thirty years. That’s evolution – there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Although it does throw up its problems, and these shouldn’t be denied.

And small not so talked about things happen too.
So for example, Bromley is still largely white, but looking at the school kids on the streets and buses after school and you might think the black population was higher. Because quite a number of children travel into Bromley to go to school from places north. From Forest Hill and Southwark, where the black population is bigger. So get on a bus in Bromley somewhere and you will be hearing that dreadful MLE language that the young people speak and they will be bringing that down into Bromley and Beckenham from places further north where it’s the norm.
Am I wrong? It’s just an observation I’ve made.

What happens I think is, if some schools in Southwark for example haven’t got a good reputation, parents who live there will look at schools in Bromley and such places further out as being better for their children. So the influence of Peckham travels south into Bromley.

Robin, you’re local to me. What do you think central Croydon is like these days? It’s definitely become more urban/working class/minority ethnic.
I think many of the people from the posher whiter part of the borough don’t even go there that much any more.
Or they certainly don’t go past the top of the high street up by West Croydon station. I personally know of people who have said negative things about that part of Croydon when I’ve mentioned it. It’s become very much a kind of transient bedsit land? A place where new immigrants like the Afghan young men head to. So what happens is that people who might all be living in the same general area (like Croydon) will just be very discerning nabout exactly what bits they go to or how they travel through them. Driving yes – bus no. That kind of thing. Maybe go to the big Tesco in Thornton Heath, but rarely walk any further up the high street. Because it doesn’t have much to offer you or it makes you depressed or something.

I’d love to hear an ethnographer describe some of these things in detail?

Damon 85, Robin Levett 84 you two have gone quiet now. Don’t you want to argue at each other any more?

“I don’t think arguing about the numbers or perceptions of the numbers is that worthwhile.”

” My whole point is that how people see things is conditioned by their perceptions.”

Exactly and precisely what I too have been saying. Typical Liberal Conspiracy cross purposes.

It doesn’t matter what any of us think here. The fact is that significant numbers of people in England f.e.e.l that they have been “invaded”, “swamped” or whatever word is used.

Im a chatty sort of person and walk dogs so I’m forever meeting people not in my “social circle” but who live in the same town. People I don’t know are constantly moaning and complaining about all the people in the town who are not native English. It is one of those 1950s-60s-70s wildly optimistic liberal left fantasy New-Towns which have never settled down and the last decades have seen massive and unprecedented immigration of dozens of different nationalities, and many local people simply don’t like hearing all the foreign languages. Most of the Eastern Europeans here are not keen to mix and keep themselves to themselves, adding to the sense of alienation among local people. Since arriving the EUers have set up their own shops that only they shop in, eat their own food, drink their own imported beers and spirits, smoke their own cigarettes, work in workplaces that are largely or entirely E European, socialise in their own houses or private social clubs or churches. It’s a kind of apartheid.

Sorry that doesn’t suit your shiny happy policy-blinkered narrative of modern Britain, Robin, but it’s just how many people feel unhappy about that and they will vote accordingly.

Oh and Robin, it doesn’t matter what you call people, what counts is how close to the facts you are – or in your case – aren’t. For myself, I’d be happy to be Wolfie Smith only I’m the wrong sex, the wrong age and the wrong political orientation. How about you? What’s the difference between you and a policy wonk?

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/policy_wonk

“(politics, government) A person who studies or develops strategies and policies, especially one who has a keen interest in and aptitude for technical details. A theoretician”

Hardly “an insult” surely?

Or is it the notion of working for Waltham Forest council that is so bad, lol???

Birdie, I think we’ve take enough liberties on this website already. It’s not ours but Sunny H’s.
It’s also a bit pointless trying to talk about difficult issues on this kind of format when people are too far apart politically. It doesn’t really go anywhere.

On the question at the top of the thread, that still hasn’t been answered to everyone’s satisfaction. And it can’t be really. Liberals will have lost the ability to persuade people who believe they are being attacked by people poking fun at their religion. You might have a better intellectual argument, but that doesn’t mean you persuade. When you have major diversity in a society, you will also have diversity of opinion – and that is not always logical.

Muslims who are not persuaded, are talking about the double standards. About why the French comedian Dieudonné has been arrested for mocking the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for example. Try explaining that to people who aren’t very bright, but feel offended about the cartoons all the same.

There is a French cartoonist called Joe Le Corbeau, who has mimicked some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but put images of Jews in place of some of the original ones. I have read they have been called antisemitic.

Like a Jewish caricature, full-on kissing a Nazi camp guard with saliva falling down their faces – like in an original CH front cover. Try to explain why the original was OK but the one with the Jew kissing the Nazi is considered antisemitic.
You can’t really.
Maybe we just have to swallow it and bring in blasphemy laws.
That would be one logical outcome of having a diverse society.

Muslims who are not persuaded, are talking about the double standards. About why the French comedian Dieudonné has been arrested for mocking the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for example. Try explaining that to people who aren’t very bright, but feel offended about the cartoons all the same.

Dieudonné’s recent arrest and investigation is for allegedly inciting terrorism. That may or may not be an appropriate accusation, indeed arguably it’s doing what he wants: making him a martyr and treating him with seriousness or some legitimacy as opposed to a ridiculous conspiracy fantasist. But regardless of that, Dieudonné has been accused of inciting terrorism and Charlie Hebdo has not.

Previously, Dieudonné has been charged with other offences including incitement of hatred, of which he has been convicted several times.

“[to] provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence toward a person or group of persons because of their origin or belonging to a particular ethnicity, nation, race, or religion.”

Charlie Hebdo has been tried for incitement of hatred – in fact Charlie Hebdo has been tried ~50 times since 1992 for various alleged offences, including in relation to material pertaining to Islam. The courts have not convicted Charlie Hebdo (or its staff) of that offence, because they found that the magazine was not inciting hatred against Muslims.

Example:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6479673.stm

Brigitte Bardot has been convicted of incitement of hatred against Muslims, for writing “We are tired of being led around by the nose by this population that is destroying our country.”

Michel Houellebecq has been charged with incitement of hatred but acquitted, for saying that Islam “is the stupidest religion.”

The differences are clear if you take the time to look into it – of course it is difficult to persuasively explain things to people who have already made up their minds absent evidence.

Because liberals always want to have their cake and eat it.

Because liberals want to be all things to all men.

Because liberals hate confrontation.

Because liberals are fruit loops. Come on The Green Party has published its manifesto. You are all self-loathing self-proclaimed-middleclass imbeciles with no attachment with the reality.

The muslims are running rings around you. They will use you so far and then cast you aside when the time comes.

97. Micky Foucault

The reason “liberals” (assuming for the sake of argument Muslims aren’t liberal) are struggling is because their argument is flawed.

Muslims have no problem with freedom of speech. True Islam, in fact promotes and support it. All they ask is that it is exercised responsibly.

I could go into detailed arguments about how there are double (if not triple) standards when it comes to insulting Muslims and insulting black people and Jews (we’ve been here before in the 1920’s with the Nazi and KKK cartoons remember?) but I won’t – because you have demonstrated my argument perfectly with you comments policy above, which some post #CharlieHebdo would argue restricts freedom of speech, but which I would argue is a sensible framework which will foster debate, understanding, peace and a harmonious society:

We have a tight comments policy aimed at fostering constructive debate.
We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.
Abusive, sarcastic or silly comments may be deleted.
Misogynist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments will be deleted.
Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy.

One of the problem s here is that the presumption is that Muslims should have as many rights to decide what we do in this country as the ethnic English.
In fact most people in this country are communitarian in outlook and don`t think, just because you live here, you have the same stake as people whose ancestors made the country. Naturally such an outlook will be called racist but then almost any community loyalty is provided it isn`t a ” victim” minority and we are past fannying around.
So the answer is we do not have to make a case to Muslims ,we do to have to beg persuade cajole or apologies we have to say this:
” If you don`t like it here go to Pakistan and country which you will find is a vast deal less friendly towards competing religions and eccentricities than ours. There was no problem when you were not here and there would be no problem when you are gone. You do nothing but cost us money wreck our cities and plunder the exchequer, every rule we invest you exploit making it impossible to legislate in areas as diverse as education and housing grants. I don`t even need to get into the attitudes to our women children civil rights,democratic process and peaceful society.

Stop thinking about what this country should do for you and start thinking about what you can start doling for it because thus far you have done nothing but harm”

I don’t go along with this. The test for religious / racial hatred in the criminal law is does it cause “gross offence”? To my mind, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons caused gross offence, under the thin guise of satire. I could spot the contempt of Islam and Mohammed immediately and no doubt every Muslim could too (I am not Muslim).

No right is absolute. If we have any respect for people we would like to caricature, we can check it out with them first. If CH had privately asked for the opinion of the average Muslim in the world on their satires of Mohammed, even I could have told them they should not publish that stuff.

I don’t want us to have to censor them artists but it’s a shame when artists don’t give a fig about the effect of their art and cause security problems for govts and spark debates about freedom of expression. None of us is an island.


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